If you have just two or three prospective freelancers left on your list after the due diligence process, then you can go ahead and hire them all.
 
There are two main reasons for hiring multiple people:
 
You can find out which freelancer does the best job for you.
 
Remember, even freelancers who do great jobs for others may not necessarily do a spectacular job for you. This usually happens because the two of you don’t communicate very well.
 
In other cases, you may simply not get along with a particular freelancer very well (e.g., your personality styles may clash). So even if this person produces good work, you may simply choose not to work with that person again. (Or, alternatively, that person may choose not to continue working with you.)
 
Point is, you want to test a variety of freelancers (the top two or three candidates on your list) to see who’s best suited for doing a particular project.
 
You’ll build a “second string” of freelancers.
 
Think of sports teams. They have their “first string” players, which are the guys who start the game and play for most of it. These are the best players.
 
But what happens if one of the first-string players is unavailable to play? Then a second-string player has to take his place. He/she may not be as good as the first string player, but he/she gets the job done.
 
The same thing can happen in your business. You may have your “first-string freelancers” – these are your favorites, the ones who do the best job for you. But your favorites aren’t always available.
 
So rather than wait months in order to get a job done, you may just hire another qualified freelancer (your “second string freelancer”). And that’s why it’s a good idea to hire a variety of people upfront, so that you can create a first and second line of freelancers.
 
Now, there are basically two ways to hire several people at once. Specifically:
 
Hire everyone to do the same job.
 
This obviously works best if you have an inexpensive job you need done, like creating a graphic. In this case you can hire two or three people, give them all the same project brief, and see who creates a graphic that most closely resembles what you had in mind. The advantage of this is that you get to directly compare different freelancer’s work and results.
 
But of course hiring different people to do the exact same job doesn’t always make sense (especially financially). In that case, you might try the second option…
 
Hire freelancers to do similar, but different, jobs.
 
Another option is to have your different freelancers complete different parts of the same job.Now, maybe you’re wondering what to do if your due diligence resulted in you getting left with more than two or three people on your list.
 
In that case, you need to rank your list in order of preference and then hire the top two or three. In order to do this, you may need to do one or more of the following:
 

  • Do additional research – In other words, extend your research to see if there’s one candidate that’s more qualified than the others.
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  • Interview the person – (This step isn’t required for small, one-off tasks.)
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  • Check the freelancers’ schedules – You may be prepared to hire someone, but perhaps you find out that the freelancer isn’t available for months. If you have a project that you need completed ASAP, then these long wait times may naturally disqualify a prospective freelancer.

 
Once you’ve ranked your freelancers in order of preference, then hire the top two or three to do the same or similar jobs (as described above). But keep these tips in mind…
 

  • Start small. Remember, this is just a testing period. You’re testing the freelancer to see if he/she produces good work. And for that matter, he/she is testing you to see if the two of you work well together, if you provide clear briefs and if you pay on time.
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    As such, you should start out by working on small projects together for a few weeks. Point is, don’t give your long or expensive projects to a new freelancer until after you find out if the two of you are a good fit.
     

  • Provide a clear project brief. Your freelancer isn’t a mind reader. And that’s why you need to offer a clear project brief and instructions.
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  • Create legal agreements. In most cases you’ll need to talk to a competent attorney about this. However, you will want to consider creating and signing legal agreements which will protect both you and the freelancer.
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  • Make your expectations known. Your legal agreements will cover the main points, such as payment terms and delivery deadlines. However, you should make your other expectations know as well.

 
Now that you’ve hired a freelancer and started working on small projects, it’s time to move on to the next step…
 
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All posts in the “Grow Your Business with Freelancers” Series:
 
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